Department of Sociology and Anthropology is one of the oldest and the largest department in the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. The department celebrated its 50th anniversary in March 2010. The history itself is evidence of its dedication to the advancement of academic and research knowledge in Sri Lanka. During the course of this period of five decades the department has undergone progressive change from a modest department of Anthropology to the largest department of Sociology and Anthropology, offering two important degree courses. They are Sociology and Anthropology. In addition to the special degree programs, the Department offers general degrees and post graduate diploma / degrees and certificate courses in these two disciplines. The national importance of these degree programs has created a healthy competition among undergraduates to enroll them and obtain higher qualifications in tertiary education.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is well-known for social research studies pioneered by the late Professor Nandasena Rathnapala. Prof. Nandasena Rathnapala dedicated his whole academic life to develop these degree programs and research studies in different social settings. He endeavored to teach sociology, Anthropology and Criminology in Sinhala medium with the special objective of institutionalizing these three subject and related research studies in Sri Lankan society. In addition the department is actively involved in National Development at various levels such as policy planning, applied research, project planning and evaluation etc. It is strongly believed that development policies and plans that are not linked to the socio-cultural context of any country are of limited value in the quest of ushering development for the country at large.

At present the Department is staffed with 10 qualified lecturers. The number of students following these degree courses as their major exceeds 400 in numbers. In addition to academic and research activities the Department pays especial attention to developing employability skills of all the students. It organizes various internship programs and provides students with an opportunity to develop necessary hard and soft skills that are required to form a global graduate.